Print Works, Merton Abbey Mills, Colliers Wood

Print Works, Merton Abbey Mills, Colliers Wood

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Area Colliers Wood
Copyright 1 London Borough of Merton
Picture Reference MerMor_​Industry_​ME_​MER_​9-1
Original Format Watercolour
Photographer / Origin of Photo J Kenrick
Notes / History This site was once part of the land owned and occupied by Merton Priory. Merton has strong links to the early calico printing industry. New skills and industrial techniques were brought to the Wandle Valley by Huguenot refugees and the clear waters of the adjacent River Wandle were ideally suited to the bleaching and printing of calico. One such 'whitster' was James Jacob, who ran bleaching grounds along the banks of the Wandle prior to 1700.

By the mid 18th century, Francis Nixon was producing fine printed fabric at Merton Abbey, using engraved copper plates.This picture mat date from around that period. Note mill worker using a hand-cranked roller to rinse the lengths of fabric in the rivers water, far right.

By the 19th century Arthur Liberty & Co continued to produce high quality printed fabric. This carried on until the latter part of the 20th century.

The large gabled building in the background may be Abbey house. Abbey House was finally demolished in 1914.

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